Thursday, December 27

Mommy Guilt, y'all. Just sit right down and let's talk about it.

So, here at Paisley Leather, we've already talked about Mommy Judging. If you missed that post, scan your eyes to the right and take a moment to read my Open Apology, where I confessed myself to be the chief of sinners in the area of Mommy Judging. Mea culpa. Mea culpa.

Today, I feel compelled to write about Mommy Guilt. If you're a mom, you're probably feeling that little lump form at the base of your throat as you read those words, the one that you have to swallow, like, a million times in order to make it go away. You are feeling that pesky airway blocking lump because you know exactly what I'm talking about. Just like Mommy Judging, we've all been guilty of Mommy Guilt. Oh sheesh, now we feel guilty about feeling guilty! Where will it end?!

Mommy Guilt begins before our babies even enter the world. Take, for example, the very dream I had just last night. In my dream, the baby I am carrying now (who we lovingly refer to as Baby Chapman #2 but who my dad lovingly refers to as "Laila's little brother") had to be taken from my womb early because of 1). Autism and 2). A complication with the baby's collarbone. You see how medical I am, my friends. My cute little subconscious can't come up with anything any better than that. So, in the dream, the baby was born very early, was very small and we weren't sure if she (Daddy, in the dream, the baby was a girl!) was going to make it. After having a c-section to remove her and seeing that she was being cared for by the doctors and nurses, I took a city bus (what?!) to Trev's office (which was more like Rockefeller Center) where I told him what had happened. He promptly became a version of himself that he could never possibly be as he passionately and heartlessly yelled at me (in the middle of a conference room full of people) for damaging our child by drinking one caffeinated beverage every couple of days and missing a couple days of prenatal vitamins, blaming me entirely and threatening to leave me because of my obvious unreliability and flightiness.


My friends, last night, Mommy Guilt took over my sub-conscious, villainized my husband, highlighted my deepest fears about who I might actually be (unreliable, untrustworthy) and caused me to lose precious precious sleep that I need so that I can actually engage with my 2 year old in order to not feel guilty about making her play by herself all day!! You see the ridiculousness (Made up word. Allowed.) of this, dear reader? All because I had an iced grande (easy ice) soy chai a couple days ago and missed my prenatal vitamins twice this week.

And may I venture to say that even if I was the most perfect pregnant mom, who always took my prenatals, drank 250 ounces of water every day, had spinach with every meal and overcame pregnancy fatigue with the vigor and might of Superwoman, I would probably STILL struggle with some level of Mommy Guilt? For some reason, none of us are off the hook. No matter how perfect we are. And I know who reads this blog. All of you are darn fine mamas who give sacrificially of yourselves every day; loving, hugging, repenting, playing, tucking in, zipping up, welcoming in, giving OUT... None of you should feel the things that we feel.

Why, God, why?!

Well, for me, (confession time again), I think it's a trust issue with the Lord. I can admit that. It's kind of like a reverse pride. Like, "I'm so important, my job is so big, I have to be perfect, it's all on me" kind of mentality which Jesus never expected us to bear. Which, in all actuality, is probably offensive to Him. Is our job HUGE? Are we extremely important? Crucial, even, to the development of these precious little hearts? Absolutely. But God, in His grace and mercy, would never call us to such a monumental position and then not walk in it with us through every step.

And He doesn't trudge through with us out of duty or responsibility.

I believe God, our Father, delights in sharing parenthood with us! His heart is for co-creation, my friends. Did He not work WITH our bodies? Literally co-creating with Trevor and I to form this little being? To form Laila Grace with her one dimple, her strong legs and arms and those stunning blue eyes? He joyfully knit these little people inside our wombs. He wants to be part of the continued process of co-creating with us as we steward their hearts, minds, bodies and spirits for this short time. Mommy Guilt (dare I say it?) is from THE DEVIL and it's intent is to distract us from the privilege and pleasure it is to be in communion with God as we carry out the most important role we'll ever have.

I, for one, have been in desperate need of this little pep talk, y'all. With selling the house, packing, moving, unpacking (sort of), being in my first trimester and Christmas, Mommy Guilt was creeping in like a hurricane. But, from here on, I'm going to trust Jesus. I'm going to give myself grace for this season. I'm going to pray for Laila as I doze on the couch and she watches the third in a row episode of Sid, the Science Kid. I know that God is with me. He's at work, molding her spirit, teaching her, speaking to her. What a beautiful truth. When I'm tired and grumpy and speechless, God will speak to my children. And His Word is perfect. His truth is sustaining. His grace is sufficient. For you and yours as well. Join me in this?


Wednesday, December 26

Coming to you LIVE from the cutest little technology EVER!


I'm blogging from my brand new shiny iPad mini, my friends! What this means for you is that you'll be hearing from me a lot more often. I know this is a lame excuse but, used to... Hold on. I am absolutely sure that "used to" is not a grammatically correct way to refer to the past. But you don't mind, do you? I'm a Texan, you see. With an English degree. So maybe we'll allow it. This time.

Ahem. As I was saying, "used to", when I was only ever blogging from my computer, I felt like I had to have something really legitimate to say, something really meaningful or insightful or funny to justify the time it took to pull out the computer, plug it in, turn it on for heaven's sake... This does sound pretty lame. ANYWAY. Now, you'll be hearing from me even when there's nothing meaningful, insightful or funny to share.
There will most likely be musings. Lots of musings. Like these:

Today, I felt my first real and honest breast pain! Which makes me very hopeful that, this time around, something is actually going on in those milk ducts. Go, milk ducts, go!

Pregnancy fatigue is real. Very real. And, as I mentioned on Facebook, it's a BEAST. My poor sweet Laila Grace. I just keep telling myself that I'll make it up to her on that blessed and glorious day that marks the beginning of my second trimester. What a day that will be!

Also, pregnancy makes me crave kid food. Tonight, LG and I had the same dinner... PB&J sandwiches with white cheddar bunnies and strawberries. And, if I had had some in the house, I would have also had a big glass of whole milk. COW MILK. Oh, if I could just get my hands on some cow milk right now...

Lastly, I found myself overwhelmingly thankful for my mama tonight. What a self sacrificing beautiful woman she is. May I always remember and be grateful for the beastly pregnancy fatigue, weird cravings, hours and hours of labor and sleepless nights she endured on my behalf. And for the innumerable sacrifices she's made since. There are no words to truly express my heart on this matter.

So, this is what you have to look forward to from me, dear reader. Musings. With maybe some breast talk, some meal recap and some lovey dovey stuff thrown in for good measure!


Monday, December 3

An Update. And some mushy feelings-type stuff.

Times like these bring out the best in relationships. They inspire empathy, the bearing of one another's burdens and sacrifices made on behalf of a friend.  Dear friends, I mean it so deeply from the bottom of my heart. Hear me when I say: THANK YOU. So many of you have reached out to us, prayed for us, asked questions out of your concern and care for us and have been generous with visits to the hospital, hugs, rides and sweet words. I speak for myself, my mom and dad, my brother and all of our family when I say that your support over the span of this now 11-year journey has been overwhelming and (let's be honest) absolutely crucial. 

We have felt the love of God through you. And you have proved Proverbs 17:17 to us over and over. "A friend loves at all times." How blessed we are. 

How about some history?

So, for those of you who are new to all of this, my dad was diagnosed with a gastro intestinal stromal tumor in 2001, my freshman year of college. (I know ya'll think my freshman year of college couldn't POSSIBLY have been 11 years ago but, trust me, it has... You are shocked, I know. It's all that Wal-Mart brand anti-wrinkle cream I've been using.) 

The tumor was/is occupying an important "nether region" as Chaucer would say... I usually whisper when I say it… The tumor is in his rectum.

At the time, he was told that the only option was surgery to remove it, as these types of tumors don't respond to radiation and, to date, there was no FDA approved chemotherapy drug on the market. The surgery, however, would most likely leave my dad with a colostomy. Pause and google that if you don't know what it is because you won't understand any of the rest of this if you don't. (I'm being bossy. I know.) Okay, you back? Got the info? Now you see why an active, spritely, YOUNG 41 year old wouldn't be keen on the idea. SO. My dad started researching (did we even have the Internet back then?) and found that there was an experimental drug called Gleevec that was being developed and was having success fighting GIST tumors. Being the go-getter that he is, he got on the phone with a doctor in Philadelphia and learned about the trial. It was too expensive, though, and our insurance wouldn't cover it. Not willing to give up, Dad visited the Texas Cancer Center and met Dr. Spivey, a local oncologist who was successfully treating chronic miloidal lukemia patients with Gleevec. Dr. Spivey consulted with the doctor in Philly and, miraculously, agreed to prescribe Gleevec to my dad "off label". There are SO many awesome doctors in this story. It's pretty impressive. Just count em. And then go hug a doctor.

 Anyway, naptime only lasts so long, ya'll. I gotta type fast.

So, for 8 glorious years, my dad had amazing success with Gleevec. He and his doctors agreed to leave the tumor in, provided that it remained stable (as in, no funny business) and didn't grow. It turns out, however, that our magnificent bodies learn to adapt and tumors apparently do the same. Gleevec stopped working. So he tried another drug that caused problems and finally got on Tasigna, another medicine that had been successful in treating GIST patients. 

For the last 2-3 years, though, the symptoms have been harder to deal with. Pain, pain. A lot of pain. And the amazing thing about my Papa is that he never complains. You have to practically BEG him to tell you how he feels and, even then, he will downplay. 

Something that is very interesting in all of this is the fact that I can relate. Remember that pesky little arterial rupture that happened to me when Laila was born? Well, all of the internal bleeding that happened as a result of that tear caused a softball sized hematoma to settle right at the base of my pelvis, just below my tail bone. So, for about 6 weeks, I had the unique opportunity of knowing almost exactly how my dad had felt for (at the time) 9 full years. Ya'll, let me just tell you, that junk HURT. And I cried (and screamed) every time I went to the bathroom and I sat down gingerly and I walked slowly... It was excruciating at times. And, I'll be honest about something. I was a hot mess. 

My father has dealt with that kind of pain and discomfort for 10 years. With the most beautiful grace and dignity. Never asking why. Never shaking his fist at God. Continuing to serve and be a blessing to others. And inspiring me. Every day.

So, let's fast forward to last week. Papa had been having more pain in the last few weeks and more symptoms.... Shortness of breath, etc, so he saw his doctor in Denton. After some tests, Dr. Masciarelli told him that his red blood cell count was too low and that he needed (yet another) colonoscopy. That was scheduled for last Friday. 

On Friday, at Denton Regional, Dr. Awan preformed the colonoscopy and found that the tumor had changed rather drastically. It appears to have grown, the texture of the surface has changed and it is now bleeding. He also found a bleeding ulcer in my dad's stomach (no doubt a result of the ibuprofen he takes to manage the tumor pain). Papa was bleeding internally from 2 places. Thus the low hemoglobin. He also had an unexplained fever. These findings turned what was supposed to be a routine colonoscopy outpatient procedure into an admittance to the hospital, close monitoring and a series of tests. The goal was to figure out the cause of the fever and to perform a CT scan and chest x-ray to determine whether the cancer cells had spread as a result of the bleeding tumor. 

In all these years, we have been SO blessed that the tumor has not metastasized. That the cancer has not spread. Waiting overnight with him for that CT and the results was... allow me to over simplify... hard. HARD. For all of us. 

How do you battle fear?
How do you reject it? Push it away? Give it no place? When what you are afraid of would break you in half, cause a part of you to die, utterly and completely change your life? 

I think God understands our struggle with fear. He is, oh God, thank you, an empathetic High Priest, knowing our weakness and anointing us with grace when we fall short. I know that His grace is sufficient to cover my lack of faith in those early morning hours. In the battles I've fought deep in the dark places of my heart. Oh God, you are good. You are deeply loving and endlessly faithful. 

There was no spread. Oh Hallelujah. Thank you, Jesus!
As far as the CT could tell, those evil cancer cells are still contained in this one area. They have not been allowed to attack the vital and precious organs that are dangerously near it. And, for that, we are... well, words cannot express... Grateful.

The tumor is still bleeding. The tumor is irrevocably changed. It seems that the grace period for my father to LIVE with this cancer inside has lifted and we are now talking about a life-changing surgery. His appointment at MD Anderson is Wednesday at 12:30. No doubt my parents and the doctors will discuss the removal of the tumor and all of the implications that come with it. 

And I know that my father will face this meeting and these life changes with the same beautiful grace and dignity with which he has dealt with the past 10 year's challenges. I know he will. He will continue to inspire all of us in this way. 

And he will know, again, what it is like to wake up without pain. 

Thank you for caring. Thank you for walking with us on this journey. Thank you for loving us. 


Thursday, November 8

A Public Service Announcement

... because I take my job here very seriously.

New Mommies, do not... I repeat... Do. Not. Neglect your annual dental cleanings and exams.

"Bor-ing", you say! "More examples of your mommy fails, Chels, more pictures of Laila, more merriment, more gingerbread lattes!"

I know, I know. I'm sorry to disappoint. This is not a fun topic, my friends, but neither was THIS:

What? You can't SEE the Hulk-like swelling on the left side of my face?! That is so strange because I certainly FEEL it. That's what 3 shots of Novocaine (or something like it!) will do for you!

No, this is not a fun blog topic, dear reader, but neither is one side of my face being numb from my chin to my eyebrows, trying to figure out how to blow my nose with only one functional nostril or dribbling iced tea (or better yet, drool) down my chin at any given moment. Neither is THAT.

So, with your best interest at heart, I'm writing this post to remind you that, even though it seems trivial, even though you THINK you're really good at brushing, flossing, etc., I'm here to tell you that missing those (at least) yearly dental exams will cost. In emotional distress, cold hard cash and pain and anguish.

Ok, well, thanks to modern analgesics, there wasn't TOO much pain and anguish but still. The emotional trauma of being told that I have 2 large cavities and 4 trouble spots was enough to make me want to go back in time, call a babysitter and GET TO THE DENTIST!!

Yes, I walked into that Dentist office two weeks ago feeling all suave, all cool, all I-havent-been-to-the-dentist-in-two-years-but-its-ok-cause-I-am-serious-about-dental-hygiene and got a major punch to the gut.

I'll repeat it just to further my point: Two (LARGE) cavities and Four Trouble Spots.

DON'T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU, ladies!! Don't let it happen to you.

Turns out that pregnancy weakens your teeth, softens your bones and generally FEEDS cavities. Or something like that. Ya'll, I'm not a doctor. I just know this is true. I mean, I read articles from Baby Center. And stuff.

And then that BABY comes. That BABY makes it hard to find time to brush, floss and rinse with flouride twice a day. That BABY requires a babysitter! That BABY's naptime is the one break in your day and that delicious chocolate, those sugar cookies and yummy sweet tarts simply CRY out to you! Because you deserve the break! You have a BABY, for goodness sake! Can I get a witness?!

But, let's be honest, she's pretty cute so we won't hold all this against her. See?



Alright, do you get the picture? Go get those check-ups!
Laila and I will be happy to babysit.
After I clean the drool off my chin, of course.

Prewitt Family Dentistry, girls. Get there. And tell 'em I sent you!
1112 North Floyd Road
Richardson, TX 75080

(I met Dr. Prewitt at the park with our babies. She's precious AND she'll sing to you while you get your fillings. Bonus.)

Sorry for the un-fun post but, hey... at least I didn't talk about the election.

Monday, November 5

Monday Musings

There is something that I realized this morning I've never told you about. It's about Laila Grace (surprise surprise)...  Have I become one of those moms who only talks about her baby? Maybe so, my friends, but you can just smile and nod and think to yourself "bless her heart".

Laila LOVES music. I mean, she loves it. She especially likes if she can see the band playing. She loves being in church on Sunday morning and worshiping with our awesome praise band and she loves watching music videos that show the musicians rocking out. She loves to shimmy and wiggle and shake her little boo-tay. It's truly adorable.

She also loves playing music. She sings (into her princess microphone, pictured below), she drums, she plays the piano... and she writes her own lyrics.

(The pic is blurry because she just can't stop for a picture when the rhythm has a hold of her!) 

She writes songs about Jesus, about Trevor and I, about pasta (yes, despite all my praying, apparently, she inherited my love for carbs) and, yesterday, she wrote a song about how she wants a little house with a backyard, a garden and a little doggie... and then she added that she'd need another garden for her other doggie.  

When she sang that part, Trev looked a little downcast and my sweet sweet baby (have I ever led you to believe that she's anything but perfect??) said to him, "Daddy, what you sad about?" 

Which brings me to another thing I don't think I've told you about, dear readers. Its about (big sigh) our house. Our house. Which has been on the market since the end of January. The END OF JANUARY. Today is November 5. This means that we are weary. Weary, I tell you!! Weary of showings that require a TON of work, weary of waking Laila Grace up from naps, weary of spending long amounts of time away from the house (usually at Starbucks... ok, that part I don't mind so much) and weary of a little habit I've come to refer to as "stashing".

Which reminds me, if you've invited us to something and we didn't show up OR we showed up without RSVPing OR we showed up without a covered dish, its probably because, at some point, I stashed the invite before a showing and forgot to find it again. I mean, I've become really good at stashing but its the remembering to find stuff again that I have yet to master. I've stashed a lot of mail, my friends, but the lights are still on so, apparently, Trevor has sniffed out and paid all the bills. What would I do without him? He is definitely a keeper.

And he's cute too, no?

So, yes, Laila is singing about wanting a backyard and a garden and a doggie. None of which we can have in this house but that we really want to have in our next house... (Minus the doggie for Trev. She's going to really have to pull out the puppy face on that one.) 


BUT! (Ever the optimist...)

We had a showing yesterday and I'm waiting for feedback, checking my email every, oh, three minutes or so.

In the meantime, we will keep singing. And praying. And working on Trevor about the dog issue, planning our garden and counting our blessings.

Happy Monday, dear friends!

Thursday, November 1

Holiday Confusion, the Weather and a Confession.

Today is November 1st.
It is 82 degrees outside and I am wearing a tank top.
AND there is a gigantic Christmas tree inside Kroger.

So many, many things are wrong with this picture. Before I get to the topic of the Christmas season starting before Halloween even comes and goes (yes, the Christmas tree was up yesterday... alongside the witches, jack-o-lantern and goblin decor), let's talk about the weather. Do you Texans remember the Thanksgiving that it iced and snowed?! I will never forget "ice skating" with my cousins on my grandparent's cul-de-sac that year. That concrete was frozen solid and my boo-tay certainly felt it a time or two! So fun, so wintry (wintery?), so... holiday!

And, my friends, I have been a Texan long enough to know that, even though the temperature is 82 degrees on November 1st, it could certainly still ice over on Thanksgiving. So I won't give up all my aspirations of busting it on the cul-de-sac quite yet... In the meantime, I'll enjoy getting a little more use out of my summer wardrobe and basking in the sun like an iguana. Which is, if you don't know, one of my favorite pastimes. Basking like an iguana. Not busting it in front of my entire family.

NOW... Kroger, I have a bone to pick with you. It's November 1st!! A Christmas tree, really? If we're all tired of Christmas by the time that it arrives, I fear it takes some of the happiness and joy out of it, don't you? If I've already heard every single pop artist's rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" before I even have to don a jacket, don't you think we've moved a little fast?

By the way, don't ya'll think its funny that EVERYbody records that song? People's Christmas albums always make me laugh. In a good and appreciative way, of course. Check out some of this holiday cheer:

Sarah Young Frank, this one's for you. ;)

Elizabeth Seymour, this one's for you. ;)
And, this... This is for everybody. Nobody should miss out on this.

Priceless, eh?

So, anyway, I've been kind of snooty about this starting Christmas too soon thing, before the witches are taken down, before Thanksgiving has gotten it's proper due, while I'm still WEARING A TANK TOP, for gosh sake. I mean, this is NOT California, people.

BUT... alas, I must admit... I am a hypocrite.
Okay? Okay. Alright. I'll just 'fess up now before you find incriminating photos of me on facebook or something...

Yesterday, I enjoyed the HECK out of a gingerbread latte from Starbucks. 

Oh yeah, baby. As far as I'm concerned, Starbucks can start Christmas in JULY if they'll only sell me that incredible concoction known as a Gingerbread Latte; that creamy, delectable, Christmas morning tasting beverage that lights up my tastebuds with all kinds of comfort and joy. All kinds of good tidings. All KINDS of happiness and cheer.
Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm.

There. Fine. I said it. I'm a hypocrite.

SO. In short, I'm hanging up my attitude, turning down all my self righteousness and heading out this afternoon to enjoy the sunshine, the latte and, perhaps, a Christmas carol or two.
After all, it is November 1st.

'Tis the Season, ya'll!

Tuesday, October 30

Life, Life, oh God, thank you for Life

May I just marvel awhile?

The little nerves at the back of my eyes are tingling because the tear ducts are warming up to let loose the joyful expression of my heart. You know that feeling, right?

God is so good. And He does such good work. May I list for you some miracles I have witnessed in the last week?

1). My sweet sweet baby friend, Adeline Camille Prewett had open heart surgery on Thursday, moved out of the ICU on Saturday and moved home on Monday. She is the daughter of my precious friend, Camille, and the little sister of Laila's bestie, Ellie Claire. I am completely in awe of how strong her little body is, how resilient and flexible she is, to have weathered two open heart surgeries in her short six months of life and to do it with so much beauty, joy and sweetness. Seriously, this is one SWEET baby. She always has a smile for Laila and I when we visit her... and she has inspired Laila to want a little sister of her own. "She smiled at me!" Laila marvels.
And it is marvelous. 
 Her life is a beautiful miracle and such a testimony of God's faithfulness. And her MOTHER. That woman inspires me every day, with her gracious humor, her vulnerability in sharing her feelings even when they are scary, her care for others in the midst of her own trial, her deep and true friendship. I am in awe of the goodness of God and so thankful for our friendship with this family.

2). Our Stella came home from the NICU on Saturday!! She's eating! She's growing! She's cooing and squeaking and sighing! All the wonderful things that she should do! And, technically, my sweet baby niece is only 39 weeks gestation, meaning she could still be in the warm, comfy cocoon of Kellie's womb. For growth restriction issues, they induced Kellie at what they thought was 37 weeks but may have turned out to be more like 35 weeks. Baby Stella initially had to go to the NICU because of low blood sugar but then they found that her suck reflex wasn't developed so she had to stay awhile. But what a little fighter! She is learning and eating and growing and we are so very very thankful. And Kellie and Clay and Stella are so BEAUTIFUL together. I marvel at the way God built this little family for the three of them and how His faithfulness, timing and grace are their testimony. Hallelujah! We finally got to meet this sweet angel yesterday and here are some pictures of Laila meeting her baby cousin...

3). Baby London Lisa Vaughn is here!! Oh how we prayed and prayed and prayed for this baby! And the Lord's timing is perfect. She is beautiful and healthy and Lindsey is beautiful and healthy and there is simply nothing better than that. "Every good and perfect gift comes from above"... Amen!

My friends, may your day be filled with joy and excitement and may our gracious God give you reasons to celebrate, as He has done for us. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, October 2

An Open Apology to All the Moms I've Judged Before

My friends, I'm not really sure what an "open apology" is... I tried to google it but I just found a lot of open apologies published on the Internet. Including one to the entire country of Iceland. So... that didn't really help me much. But, if an "open apology" is one in which the apologizer's heart is open and naked and splayed out for all to see, then I've appropriately titled this post.

This is my genuine and heart felt apology to all the mothers I've judged in the past. Here it goes.

- To the mother who ignored her tantrumming toddler in Target: I judged you. I'm sorry.

- To the mother who carried her toddler, kicking and screaming, out of the mall with one arm while dragging a 4(ish) year old child with the other: I judged you. I thought to myself "Oh, those poor children." I'm sorry.

- To the mother who's children have terrible table manners: I judged you. I'm sorry.

(Here's a big one. SUPER ouch on this one.)

 - To the mother who's child was so shy, she wouldn't speak to anyone. Let alone, crack a smile: I judged you. I thought you ought to teach your child to be friendly. I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry.

 - To the mother of the set of twins who used to bite me in Kindergarten: I judged you. You really should have done something about that. But perhaps you tried really hard. Perhaps the biting thing was a heartbreaking issue for you. I shouldn't have judged you. I'm very sorry.

 - To the mother of the 4 year old who still used a pacifier: I judged you. I'm sorry. 

These are just a few examples of mommies that I, in all my righteous wisdom, have judged. And I had NO IDEA. Zero.
Of course, I never would have said any of these things aloud to these mommies. I never would have wanted to hurt feelings. I'm too "nice" a person for that... But I certainly thought they were missing the mark. I definitely thought that I could do better.

I am so so sorry.

Last week was quite possibly my worst week as a parent. It was a really really hard week. Let me just start by telling you what happened on Monday. After a very busy weekend as the Maid of Honor in a friend's wedding, I wanted to spend a lot of sweet, quality time with Laila. I told her we could go to Baby Bounce, which is storytime at the public library. We've been going since she was, like, 3 months old and we love it. It is a serious blessing. When we got there, though, Laila was not simply not obeying me. She was doing silly things that she knows not to do like putting the shaker egg in her mouth. Which is, my friends, totally gross! A million little toddler hands have been on those eggs and you know how children are... they're little carrier monkeys. No one likes having a sick 2 year old up in the middle of the night so I was trying to avoid her catching a pesky autumn cold. I told her 2 times NOT to put the egg in her mouth and, when she did it a third time, I said, in my best Authoritative Mommy Voice, "If you put that egg in your mouth one more time, Laila Grace, we are going home." And do you know what she did?! She looked right at me, y'all, and put the egg in her mouth.
An instant later, she took it out, squared her eyes on mine and said, "You're supposed to take me home now."


And do you know what I did? I majorly and completely Mommy Failed. I didn't take her home. Can you people believe it?! I DIDN'T take her home. I know. I know. You're all shaking your heads right now and judging me. It's okay. You're allowed. For this one moment, you're allowed. I judge myself!!

Here's the deal: I didn't want to leave. I was totally intimidated by the thought of being alone at home with this child. I was tired. I was overwhelmed. I was weak.

And, ultimately, it was unfair to Laila. Because she needs to know that her mommy is a woman who will keep her word. She needs to know that she cannot blatantly disobey and get away with it. She needs to know where her boundaries are so that she can feel secure within them. She absolutely and completely NEEDS me to follow through.

About 5 minutes later, I said to her, "Laila. Right now, Mommy is having grace for you. Grace is when you do not get the punishment that you deserve. You deserve to be taken home because you disobeyed but I am having grace for you and letting you stay at Baby Bounce."

Sounds good, huh? And, yes, grace is a concept that I absolutely want to teach. But, in this case, friends, it was a cop out. I can admit that. I was simply too lazy to follow through. And I was scared. Of my 2 year old. Sheesh.

On Wednesday, I status updated (See how I made "status update" a verb? My english degree entitles me to take such liberties) my feelings: "Parenting a 2 year old is really tough work. There is little room for weakness, double mindedness or distraction. I had better get it together. Seriously."

That particular statement was born out of the realization that, on any given day, my personality is given to distraction, flightiness, inconsistency, forgetfulness... It's all part of my charm! Hee hee. And, back in the day, when it was all about ME, the consequences of these tendencies were born by myself alone. And for the most part, the consequences weren't so bad...  BUT when you are parenting a 2 year old, you simply aren't allowed these sorts of luxuries. It turns out that it is really hard to be a Type B Mama. Can I get a WITNESS??

And, to think, all those years, I watched. And I judged. And I thought I could do it better.

(Dramatic pause)...

So, all of that was the bad news.
Here's the good news:
Taken from excerpts of conversations with two sweet friends:
Last week (AKA, the Week from "H" - "E" - "Double Hockey Sticks"):

First piece of good news: Someday, they will have 2 year-olds of their own.
Okay, j/k about, like, the sweet revenge part... But, no, seriously.

Second piece of good news: The effort and the heartache that is required to train them at this point is going to reap a reward. Our children will be better people. Our daughters will be better women for the good seed that we've sown. With blood, sweat and tears. Oh, the tears.

Third piece of good news: Even when we mess up, we're modeling humility and repentance. Our daughters will learn to be forgiven but they will also learn how to offer forgiveness. I always say that the most important words in a marriage are not "I love you". They are "I'm sorry" and "I forgive you". If I can have a hand in teaching Laila the power of forgiving others, then I will be investing in her future marriage. And that is worth it's weight in gold.

Yes, my friends, I do believe that the Lord is using these days. To build character, strength and patience. To tighten the bonds between Laila and I. To make us more like Jesus.
And I welcome it... mostly.

In the meantime, Mommies that I've judged, please accept my apology. Accept my heartfelt and genuine apology. And if you are a Mommy Judger, REPENT! Turn from your evil ways!! Recognize that nobody knows what it's like to be someone else, to "walk in their moccasins", as the plaque in my Granny's kitchen used to say. Let's encourage each other. As women, as mothers, as wives, let's take the energy we use for contempt and use it in love and grace instead. Let's help each other, build each other up, walk arm in arm, sing Kumbaya... Okay, we don't have to sing Kumbaya... but, seriously...

" Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."
1 Peter 4:8

Wednesday, August 29


Just stopped by to share this little piece of goodness.
We love our buddy, Micah Joe.
And the people he belongs to.
And his little brother too.

Happy Wednesday Evening!

Monday, August 20

Present with the Lord

This past weekend, we had the privilege of celebrating a dear friend's life and, as my Yaya would say, his "homegoing"... the glorious passage of existence from flesh on earth to the presence of God in Heaven. My friends, the memorial service was beautiful, lovely, exactly as it should have been. There were three elements that spoke deeply to my heart. The first part of the service was spent in worship... All of Jackie's friends and family just celebrating him by worshiping the Lord together, just exactly how Jackie would have wanted us to celebrate him. We sang a song, written by my dear friend, Jenny Ayers, called "Most High". One of the verses says, "I stand in awe and wonder in this place, for you are loveliness. I join with saints and angels, forever to proclaim in your presence..." (Ya'll, I have chillbumps as I type this)... As we sang that verse, I couldn't help but smile so broadly. I felt joy rush into my heart and overflow out of me as I thought about how Jackie was worshiping the Lord in Heaven and that, by worshiping Him here on earth, we were truly joining in with Jackie's song. This is so poignant because Jackie played with Trevor and so many of our dear friends on our worship team at church. How many times had they stood (or in Trevor's case, sat) on the stage together, unified, friends, worshiping Jesus in one accord? And I know that Trevor and my friends will miss being on stage with Jackie, pouring hearts out to the Lord... but, in that moment, it became so clear to me that any time we worship on earth, we will be joining our friend, as he spends eternity worshiping at the feet of Jesus. We are never closer then, to the ones who've passed before us, to the loved ones we miss so desperately, than when we worship our God.
What a marvelous mystery. What a precious reality.

The second part of the service that touched me deeply was Jackie's adult daughter's words about him. She used language of friendship, described evenings spent playing board games, watching baseball games, having talks... She described her mother and father as she and her husband's "favorite couple to hang out with" and said that her father was "one of her best friends". So beautiful. And doesn't that just speak to who Jackie was and who Wendy, his wife, is, that their grown children would want to spend so much time with them, that their grown children would describe them in such a way? And, of course, it made me think of my own daddy and mom, who we LOVE to be with, who we seek out, who we begged to come to Florida with us in September, just because we love spending time with them. What a treasure. What a gift. And it challenged me, friends. It challenged me to be the kind of parent who's adult children pursue. To be the kind of parent who is steadfast, committed (Jackie and Wendy's son, Taylor, played baseball all the way through college, year round, and Taylor testified that Jackie only missed one game. One game. In Taylor's entire career), FUN, wise, gracious... I'm inspired.

And, finally, Wendy's words about her husband. I won't share everything, in case it wasn't meant for all the internet to read but suffice it to say that these two were resolutely and solidly in love. They were truly companions, unified. I will say that, before Jackie died, I was so moved by how Wendy talked about Jackie's cancer. She called it "ours". When describing what was going on in Jackie's body, she said "us" and "we", as in, "we are experiencing pain in such and such place" because, as she said, "We are one. What is happening to Jackie is happening to me."

Have I mentioned that I'm inspired?
And grateful. So grateful for the friendship of this family, for the hope that we have because of Jesus and for the ways that Jackie continues to teach and influence me.

"To be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord" Hallelujah.

Friday, August 17

My New Office, AKA: THE LGC's Playroom

Well, my friends, a post about the playroom is long overdue but here it is. We completed it in time for Laila's second birthday and, boy, has it helped us brave this HOT Texas summer!! You, our dearest friends, are more than welcome to come play as well. Beat the heat with the Chapmans! That's our motto! It would be a pleasure to have you.

Besides helping us have a stellar indoor play space, the playroom has truly helped ease the pain of our house NOT selling. P.S. We have a beautiful house for sale!! (Hey, its my blog. I can throw in shameless plugs if I want to...) :)

Here it is, my friends:

And here are the stats:

The paint is Sherwin Williams Adventure Orange (because we love adventure, as you know.)

The tiles are from May I just say that these are AWESOME. They are soft and squishy so they provide a nice landing for the slide (not pictured, off to the left) and provide great support for the feet and ankles during jumping and dance parties. Also, the company will send you free samples of whatever colors you want so that you can see how they will look in your space. We highly recommend them! Also, I use baby wipes to easily mop up any stains or smudges and it works like a charm!

The green table and chairs are from IKEA as are the shelves. The frames are also from IKEA. Those are the fruits of the spirit...

Oh yeah, the easel also came from IKEA. Cheap too!

The kitchen is kid kraft and, boy, do we LOVE that kitchen! (Thanks, Nonna and Papa Bear!)

And those awesome green bins are from Target. 

And now for the credits:

Truly, the credit goes to.... (drum roll, please!) my sweetest and darling husband, Trevor Chapman, who, selflessly and lovingly:

1). Gave up his formal dining room... which, ya'll, I would have NEVER expected.

2). Painted and re-painted and taped and painted. He also painted the ceiling. So much work involved in that.

3). Took down the chandelier and replaced it with a super fan and high-tech dimming light switch.

4). Assembled the shelves from IKEA and measured and re-measured to be sure they would fit as beautifully as they do.

5). Researched the soft tiles, purchased the soft tiles and did all the mathematics, cutting, etc. to ensure that we had perfectly installed wall-to-wall comfort.

6). Ya'll. You ain't never seen anything until you've seen my husband hang a gallery wall. I thought it was perfect. Then, he noticed a slightly wider gap between two of the rows than the third and he took them all down and started again. I provided the moral support in the form of love notes held up from my comfy spot on the floor.


So, that's that. And our offer to have you come and play is a standing one. So, come on over!

Wednesday, May 30

That Being Said...

... It was a pretty great party. The reason it was such a great party, though, wasn't because of the Oreo pops or the cookie decorating table or the bubble machines but because there were so many WONDERFUL people there.

Friends and family, thank you so much for coming out to honor our sweet girl. We feel so loved! And, oh, the presents! You people sure know how to outfit a 2 year old little girl!
Thank you so so much.

Here are a few pictures of our wonderful guests:

BJ with Abby, Leah and Jane, enjoying the shade.

Audrey A, looking beautiful!

Sweet Crystal and Gideon.

Joseph and Cayla, assisting with the cookie decorating table.

Evie June and Laila's cousin, Madeline.

Dana, looking fly, with Levi and Jonah.

Leah R, what a darling!
Daniella D, taking out her paci for a photo op!

Beautiful Gigi!

We love that silly girl!

Uncle George, Uncle Poppy and Aunt Gammy, Grammy, Aunt Heidi and Uncle Chris.

Papa, Grandad, Grandat and Nonna.

Jane and baby Maddox, super sweet.

Ross and Julian, sharing a pensive moment.

All the family who came!

Ellie Claire, accomplishing the serious task of eating a cupcake.

Laila with her sweet friend, Kelby.

Laila and her cutie cousin, Madeline.

Jenny and Evie June, so much beautiful hair in one picture. 

Sweet Chris and I with Laila, Elijah and Madelyn.

Laila, pondering the whole candle thing with my sweet friend, Liz, her son, Beau and Melissa lighting the candles!

Handsome Micah, climbing.

The cake decorating station! 
Laila, Shane, Ellie, Kelby, Gigi, Brandy and I.

Laila and her proud mommy and daddy.

A VERY special thank you to Bethany Johnson for taking these beautiful photos for us!
We will treasure them!